The Atlanta Hawks led the Oklahoma City Thunder in each of the first three quarters, and were in great position to pull off a huge upset of arguably the top team in the league. However, the team couldn’t hold on to the 87-79 lead they had built up, and wound up dropping the game 111-109, largely because of Kevin Durant’s insane 41-point game, including the game winning shot with less than two seconds left.
The Hawks shot extremely well in this one… but Oklahoma City wound up shooting just a little bit better. While the Hawks were an impressive 43-88 from the floor (48.9 percent), the Thunder shot 43-82 (52.4 percent). While the Hawks made 12 of 25 3-pointers (48 percent), the Thunder made 13 of 25 (52 percent). That Thunder scoring (or lack of Atlanta defense) would be just enough for the Hawks to come up short in a game that seemed to be theirs for the taking.
Newly-crowned Eastern Conference Player of the Week Paul Millsap played well, scoring 23 points, grabbing eight boards and dishing out four assists. DeMarre Carroll, Shelvin Mack and Kyle Korver put up 15, 15 and 14 points respectively. The former adding five steals and the latter going 3-7 from 3-point land to extend his NBA record of consecutive games with a 3-pointer to 113.
The bench also performed well (on the offensive side) with three players getting into the double-digits in points. Mike Scott was the best player in this area, scoring 16 points and racking up six rebounds. Dennis Schroder was pretty effecient offensively off the bench, scoring 10 points on 4-6 shooting (including a perfect 2-2 from three). Lou Williams dropped ten points of his own in his 23 minutes but turned the ball over four times, compared to just three assists. Despite the turnovers from Williams, those are some really good numbers for your bench players who would be seeing very few minutes with a fully healthy roster.
However, Kevin Durant scored 41 points and that was the biggest theme. He had his way with the Atlanta defense, shooting 15 for 25 from the floor and 5 for 7 from behind the arc. In addition to those numbers, Durant got to the line eight times and knocked down six of the shots. He added three blocks on the defensive side for good measure.
While this may be an especially bitter loss for the Hawks, given the way they lost it (I mean, they had four guys guarding the guy when he knocked down the game winner), I’m still very impressed with how they stuck with this team. The Hawks were the away team and considered a 10-point underdog, but they managed to lead for almost the entire game without two of their better starting players touching the floor. Kevin Durant just happens to be one of the best players in the NBA, and he certainly showed that tonight.
Tough luck Hawks. Great game for what it counts.